Let's Give Your Home A Refresh

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, January 02, 2016 @ 12: 27 PM
topper-Jan9th.jpg“Time to clean,” Lisa, one of our sales associates, announced last week. She affixed me with a firm look and pointed at a file cabinet stuffed with old contracts and receipts. “You’ve got to get the positive energy flowing in here.”

Full confession: furniture, I understand. Feng shui, not so much.  But Lisa was determined to undertake a dramatic re-organization of my office. I suspect she’d read that bestselling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” Once I reluctantly agreed, she was relentless, purging our files of clutter, flinging all the flotsam and jetsam of last year into the trash.

When we were done, I felt a surge of energy and purpose. Like a lot of people, I hate to let go of the comfort of familiar clutter. But getting rid of old files and long-forgotten to-do lists opened up a kind of psychic space for new thoughts and ideas. Hey, I thought, maybe there is something to this trend of reorganizing.      

So we’re extending the concept to you, our customers, and to our showrooms. Take a good look around your house. Is that recliner looking a little ratty? Is the coffee table a little wobbly? Start 2016 off right. Sweep out the old and bring in the new. We’ve got showrooms full of beautiful furniture and accessories to refresh your home and help you prepare for the holidays and other family events of this new year.    

And here’s a little incentive.

Starting today through Wednesday January 6, 2016, we are having a sale. Take 10% off any item in the showroom.  

2015 was a very good year. But if you de-clutter, refresh and apply some feng shui, 2016 might be even better.

Topics: Furniture

Outwitting The Kids

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, December 19, 2015 @ 12: 17 PM

0_a2578_a227e315_orig.png“Done!” Diana said triumphantly. She snapped the laptop shut and checked off the last item on her shopping list. Christmas 2015 was in the bag. 

Or, actually, in the truck. Thanks to online shopping, we’ve hardly set foot in a mall this season, which, for busy working parents like us, is a major victory. Diana scoured the Internet for bargains and treasures, saving us the stressful task of trekking from one store to another to find the perfect gift for everyone on our list.   

And, according to the news, the Fruccis are not unique this holiday season. Online shopping will likely top $83 billion this year, up 10% from 2014. No wonder UPS has had to rent additional vans to deliver all the packages. Our front door is seemingly piled high every afternoon with brown cartons.  

While Christmas shopping has gotten easier, hiding the loot has never been more difficult for parents. As soon as the boxes started landing on our doorstep in late November, our three boys would run out and examine them closely. They would study stickers, tags and barcodes to determine where the package came from – and what its likely contents were.  

“Mom!” Robbie, our seven-year-old, announced one afternoon. “My Skylanders Superchargers just showed up!” 

Not to be outwitted by a pack of under-age private eyes, Diana switched the delivery address to our showroom in Hanover. It seemed the perfect solution. But Collin, our thirteen-year-old, figured out how to log onto her account on Amazon. There, he hit the motherlode: a list of everything she’d bought this year.  

Playing hide-and-seek with the presents is part of the fun of Christmas. Thanks to the Internet, we no longer have to endure snarled traffic and overcrowded malls. But we do have to come up with some pretty ingenious ways of outwitting the spies in our midst. The times, they are a-changin’.    

Happy Holidays to your family from all of us at FCG.

Topics: christmas

Sales Tales

Posted by Jay Frucci on Tue, December 15, 2015 @ 04: 23 PM
hamper.png“Hmmm,” Diana said, frowning. “Your wardrobe needs a makeover.”
  When it comes to style, I like to keep it simple. I have a closet full of brown-check shirts. When I need to kick it up a notch, I’ve got a brown check with a thin red stripe. I know, I know, I’m thinking peacock. You’re thinking hedgehog. But I feel like America’s next top model in that shirt.
So I made a rare pilgrimage to a men’s clothing store earlier this week. I was ready to embrace my inner dandy. A paisley pocket square? Bring it on. I was a man on a mission.
All my gusto fizzled after a half-hour in a retail abyss. I wandered around helplessly, ignored by three salesmen. Two were studying their cell phones. One was fussing over a rainbow of ties on a table. I cleared my throat to get someone’s attention.

Mr. Fussy finally wandered over, trailing a nimbus of cheap cologne, a tape measure around his neck. He cut me off as I was explaining my mission and started plucking shirts, pants and ties in every color from every table. At one point, he paused and hollered across the room: “Hey, buddy, what size are you?”

What? Okay, I work out, though maybe not as much as in my twenties. I’m a fortysomething dad. I take my Patriots with a side of beer and pizza. Do I want to shout out my size? Would that ever happen in the dress department at Nordstrom? “Looking’ a little broad in the beam there, madam. What are you – a 16?”

In the dressing room, the salesman tried to talk me into a purple striped shirt with a black tie. I looked like a thug. Next came the stovepipe pants, apparently a thing this winter in Soho. I looked like Honest Abe. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough, mission not accomplished.

Which makes me realize the importance of good sales staff. I came to the store hoping to find someone help me nudge my personal fashion dial very slightly to the left. A good salesman would have listened carefully, sized up my conservative fashion sensibilities, and made some sensitive suggestions. Ultimately, he would have rung up a big sale. 
Tis’ the season to shop – and we’ve all got some stories about the best and worst of the retail experience. So vent with me! Drop me a note about your shopping miracles and nightmares. We’ll all have a good laugh. And we’re always looking for ways to improve the customer experience at FCG. Your feedback will help.

Spirited Gift Hunting

Posted by Jay Frucci on Wed, December 09, 2015 @ 10: 46 AM

img_7326.jpgChristmas, 1999: I was tired, hungry, cold and worried. I’d been trudging in and out of gift shops all evening. My boots were soaked with icy slush. Soon, the shops would close and I still hadn’t found the perfect gift for my wife.
Diana was in the middle of an extraordinarily difficult pregnancy that year. Because of complications, she was bedridden, swollen and miserable. I wanted to find something that would tell her how grateful I was and how hopeful I was for a healthy baby and wife.  
In the last moments before closing time, I stumbled into a small shop and found the perfect gift: a handcrafted pendant of a mother with child encircled with stars. The sweet old lady who owned the shop told me the stars symbolized angels surrounding my wife and unborn son and keeping them safe.
Even now, years later, seeing that pendant brings back a rush of memories. I remember the excitement and the worry about impending parenthood. I remember the frustration of looking for the perfect gift and the thrill of finding it. img_7353.jpg
I see the same hope in the shoppers who wander through our showrooms this time of year. Like me, they’re looking for something more special than a scarf, a tie or a cold piece of technology. I want to reassure them: you’ve come to the right place.
Our stores are chockful of furniture and accessories perfect for that special someone. We have practical items: desks, chairs, lamps. We have classic accessories: framed prints of ships and nautical scenes, perfect for a home office, a man cave or a study.

We have fun accessories, too. Our Plymouth showroom offers lobster buoys and signs with slogans made from driftwood. For aviators, we’ve got a mobile of vintage model airplane that holds an assortment of candles. For boaters, we’ve got a decorative

At FCG, you might just finish your holiday shopping this weekend with the unique and special gifts you’ve been hoping to find.

Man Chair Love

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, November 14, 2015 @ 04: 48 PM
"Can you do anything with this?" The older gentleman slid a photo of a tattered plaid chair across the counter at me. "Well," I said hesitantly, hoping not to hurt his feelings, "that might be difficult for us to sell..."
"Sell it?" he growled. "I don't want you to sell it! I want you to fix it!"
Turns out, this chair has been his throne for almost four decades. The pitch of its recline was perfect. Its cushions supported his neck and back properly. And, best of all, his plaid chair had some powerful sports mojo.
From that throne, he'd watched quarterback Doug Flutie throw the infamous Hail Mary pass in 1984. He'd witnessed Larry Bird steal the ball in 1987 to win the game for the Boston Celtics.  He'd seen the Red Sox reverse the Curse in 2004, the Bruins hoist the Cup in 2011. Now, he's asking me to fix that chair so he can watch Brady continue his Revenge Tour into 2016.
Upholstering a chair is expensive, I explained. I took him on a tour of the showroom, hoping he would find a replacement. 
Little did he know, I've been looking for the perfect chair, too. I prowl the showrooms regularly, sitting in every one on the floor searching for a throne made just for me. One with a flat - not rolled - arm so I can rest a cold bourbon on it in the evening. One that soothes my sciatica. I've been looking for years. I have my eye on the American Leather swivel recliner. I gently steered him away from it because that might be the one for me.
Regardless, my customer, the older gentleman, decided he didn't have the time for that kind of odyssey. He opted to reupholster his faithful furniture companion. After all, he figured, it's a small price to pay for a chair that brings good fortune to his favorite teams.
"You can pick it up after this Sunday, but I want it back before the Denver game," he barked. 

Topics: consignment, Furniture, reupholstery

Learning to Leverage Assets

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, November 07, 2015 @ 12: 15 PM
What's the scariest time of year? Hint: it's not Halloween. The scariest time of year is the week after Halloween. That's when we rob our kids of the candy they've stashed under their beds. Secretly snacking on their Skittles, we gain ten pounds just in time for all the holiday parties.
Candy is potent stuff.
Consider the black market that sprang up in our neighbors basement after our boys and their friends went trick-or-treating. The ringleader was our youngest, seven-year-old Robbie. Typical teenagers, those boys are eating machines, the sharks of the human eco-system. Robbie sensed an opportunity in that hungry subterranean mob.
Standing on a podium like a seasoned auctioneer, he held in one hand a tasty morsel pulled from his sack of candy. "Delicious and nutritious," he said in a loud and serious voice, "a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup to the guy who can tell me the best swear word. Going once, going twice ..."
When you're seven, a good swear word is a pretty valuable item on the playground. They're hard to come by on these polite suburban streets. And Robbie figured this was a crowd of swearing virtuosos.
He had plenty of bargaining power. The Kit-Kat bar was sure to win a real zinger of a swear. Not so much the apple, which came from some earnest vegan neighbor, or the toothbrush from the dentist down the street. (Their houses are on the blacklist for next year's trick-or-treating.) But the sticky, crunchy, tooth-rotting Snickers? An ace, for sure.         
The older kids sensing that this could mean trouble for them shut down the bidding quickly and gave the adults a heads-up.  Innocence was preserved. Robbie didn't get anything stronger than a "damn." But I gotta give it to that kid. He knows how to capitalize on his assets. If we can hone those bargaining skills for good use in enterprise and not for vocabulary resources, he'll do well in business someday.
Speaking of assets, we have some terrific items in our three showrooms this weekend, just in time for the holidays. You want to miss the B&B Italia sectional that was a designer error. The designer's price on that was $13,000, but you can have it for $3,899. You can also save thousands of dollars on the Ethan Allen Abbott table and ten Chauncy chairs in mint condition. Together the set is $3,999 and sells for double the price in the current Ethan Allen catalog.  
At FCG Bargains reign. Even kids like Robbie would see this opportunity and would suggest taking inventory of your resources so that you can acquire some assets. 


Topics: fun, boston, Furniture, boston consignment, assets, halloween

How-To: Re-purpose Your Dining Room Into A -- Dining Room

Posted by Jay Frucci on Tue, November 03, 2015 @ 12: 07 PM

"Which one?" Diana asked me. She had a fork in each hand, one from the everyday set and one from the special-occasion set. We were planning a meal to celebrate our oldest son taking a step towards manhood, making the sacrament of Confirmation. At first, we'd thought about a buffet, but Diana had changed her mind. "It's a special day," she said. "I'd like the whole family sitting around the dining table."

How many of us use our formal dining room anymore? Not many and not often.
Everyone seems to eat meals at the kitchen island now or, even worse, in the car, a reflection of the frenetic pace of our lives. In homes where space is tight, the dining room has been repurposed into a toy room, a crafts room or a home office.
Call me old-fashioned, but I'm in favor of dining rooms. Who doesn't cherish the memory of visiting grandparents on Sundays, when everyone squeezed around the table to eat and talk all afternoon? Meals aren't just about food. They're about celebrating life's milestones, sharing family history and honoring victories large and small.
Here's my modest proposal for reviving the dining room-
1. Is there a baby in the house? Put that high chair at the head of the table. Or, better yet, pass that baby around during the meal. It's a great way to celebrate a special time that vanishes all too soon.

2. Before eating, take a moment to appreciate your family, your friends, your health. Say a prayer. Raise your glass in a toast. Or just pause to reflect about the good things in life.
3. Teach your kids manners. Our boys shovel food down their gullets wordlessly, the only noise a snort or gobble. Okay, teenagers are a challenge. But in the dining room we impose rules: no baseball caps, no slouching, no using shirtsleeves as napkins. Someday, that kid will be on a date, at a job interview, or meeting the in-laws. Everyone needs basic training.
4. Use the good china and the wedding crystal. Decorate the table. Your family and guests will feel special.
Don't have a dining room set? Furniture Consignment Gallery has them in every style. Chestnut Hill has sets by Alfonso Marina for Ebanista and Restall, Brown & Clennell of England. Hanover, has a beautiful Karges inlaid mahogany table with satin border and four leaves for $5,849. Plymouth's showroom boasts a Nichols & Stone cherry table with six chairs for $999.
Polish those forks. The holidays are coming. 

Topics: dining room

A Comfortable Situation

Posted by Jay Frucci on Tue, October 27, 2015 @ 11: 00 AM
img_2568copyYou gotta know where to draw the line.
Consider the current trend of "co-sleeping." That means letting kids sleep with mom and dad at night. Harmless? Maybe when baby is the size of a peanut. But then it gets to be a habit.  Just try getting some shut-eye with an eight-year-old who thrashes around all night like an eggbeater.
Well, that wasn't going to happen in my house. Our three boys had their beds. Diana and I had ours. Same with the dog.  Bark all you want, Roxie. You're not sharing my bed.
I had the situation under control - until about a year ago. Then, Furniture Consignment Gallery started selling new mattresses as a service to our customers who were buying bedroom sets. We chose Gold Bond, a brand that offered excellent quality for a reasonable price. 
Impressed with the feedback from happy customers, Diana and I figured it was time to dump our old mattress. We invested in a pillow-top called the Westminster, which sounds regal, palatial and luxurious. And, yes, it was all that and more. I loved that mattress. I never slept better.
That was the start of the Pillow-top Wars. I'd come home from work to find all three boys huddled together watching television - on my Westminster! I'd have to chase them out so I could flop down on my own bed for a few minutes.
Next, I started finding stowaways at bedtime. Seven-year-old Robbie would sneak in and fall asleep. While I was dragging him to his room, Roxie, the dog, would take his place then snarl at me for disturbing her delicious dog coma.
After hauling her downstairs, I'd find Collin, soon-to-be 13, under the covers. As I led him by his ear to his bed, I'd hear someone making a dash for it. Even Cade, our fifteen-year-old, couldn't resist the siren call of the Westminster. He's no peanut, either: 215 pounds. Size 13 feet.
My nights are exhausting now. But I'm determined to defend my right to the Gold Bond Westminster. I bought it - I'm not going to share it. Get a job, kiddo. Buy your own.

Welcome Return to Quality

Posted by Jay Frucci on Tue, October 27, 2015 @ 10: 35 AM
img_4940Our Hanover showroom boasts a trove of treasure this week: 49 pieces of new furniture made by master craftsmen right here in our hometown. Their artistry is extraordinary. Every piece of hardwood has been meticulously matched for figure and grain. Every surface has been planed by hand, every dovetail cut by hand, every decorative element carved by hand.
Finally, each piece was signed by the artisan who made it, a personal pledge of pride in meticulous craftsmanship.
I thought a lot about the quality of those pieces this week. I was making my first pilgrimage to High Point, North Carolina, the furniture capital of the world. Diana and I were there to buy accessories such as lamps and art for our three showrooms. Diana was also picking out fabric for a new line of chairs we plan to offer in our store in Chestnut Hill.   img_4880
To the uninitiated, High Point can be overwhelming: 10 million square feet of items for the home from frou-frou pillows to bedroom suites, oil paintings to faux plants, chandeliers to candlesticks, tassels to teapots.Over three days, I wore out the leather soles of my shoes trying to see everything.
What struck me hard was the questionable quality of the furniture. Much of it is mass-produced in pieces overseas now, shipped to our shores and assembled here in the U.S. Like those towns that once pocked the Wild West, featuring slapdash stores with fake facades, High Point seemed to me to be oversized and overpriced. In other words, it was all show, no substance.  
What a relief to come home to quality.

Topics: High Point, consignment, Furniture

Come Meet Our Amazing Staff!

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, October 10, 2015 @ 03: 56 PM
On a whim, while visiting Boston, she'd stopped at our showroom and fallen in love with a mirror. She'd spent a year renovating and redecorating a home in Kennebunkport, Maine, and this mirror would be the final jewel in her masterpiece. She bought it, delighted to have found such a treasure, only to come to a crushing realization a few minutes later. The mirror wouldn't fit in her car.
Ron, manager of our store in Hanover and a nine-year veteran of FCG, has a deep compassion for this kind of drama, which is a decorator's version of 'the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat.' So, also on a whim, Ron offered to deliver the mirror to her home on his day off. Himself. 108 miles, each way.
I was dumbfounded when I discovered what he'd done for that customer. In a tone that was half-guilty and half-defensive, he waved away my objections. "I've always wantesnowfurnitured to see Kennebunkport," he said as if a five-hour spin was a typical outing for anyone. "What a pretty town! Her House was beautiful!"
In reflecting on the ten-year anniversary of our acquisition of Furniture Consignment Gallery, I realize that our success is in large part because our employees care so much about our customers. They are always willing to go the extra mile - or hundred miles. Brian, assistant manager of Hanover, once delivered a pair of lamps to someone's home on his way home then stayed for an extra hour or two to help the hapless customer rearrange the furniture.
We value our employees not only for their willingness to provide extraordinary customer service but also IMG_6013bsmfor their loyalty to FCG. Our most recent hires have been with us for almost a year: Brian, Julia, Lisa, Josh and Mike. Brad, manager of our showroom in Plymouth, joined us about three years ago to launch that store and Drew, Tevin and Nick have been with us since the opening. Bryan and Diane joined us about a year ago. Donna was in Plymouth before being promoted to manage our showroom in Chestnut Hill and Meredith has been a part timer in Chestnut Hill for nearly five years! Gloria, our bookkeeper, has been our Guardian Angel in accounting for all Ten Years!!
Our delivery crew includes six-year veteran Matt, four-year vet Rob, two-year vet Dana, and Matt, the newcomer, who joined us eight months ago. They are, to a man, the most careful, pleasant and competent delivery team you will ever encounter. Christa, our marketing manager, photographs our furniture in Hanover and is responsible for our website. She's been with FCG for four years.
This weekend, we will wrap up our ten-year anniversary celebration. Our 10%-off sale goes through Monday. Please join us Saturday for treats and refreshments. Each of our three showrooms is hosting an open house between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Come meet our staff, the heart and soul of FCG.



Topics: consigment, employee, boston, Used Furniture, MA, Furniture, Hanover, anniversary